MYACC at Gilda’s Club – Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone

by Heather Ferber on May 1, 2017

This weekend I had the opportunity to be a part of the Midwest Young Adult Cancer Conference (MYACC) that was hosted by Gilda’s Club in Madison.  When the program director, Kirsten Norslien, originally reached out to me I had a bit of hesitation because I knew it would involved stepping out of my comfort zone and sharing some bits and pieces about my journey with Molly.  While it’s been nearly one year since Molly’s passing, I truly did not know if I was ready to do something like this.

There were small signs along the way that I may the right decision – like a moment at Good Friday mass in Cayman when my mind wandered to the thought of finalizing my slides for the talk and the priest started his sermon by speaking about a young mother with cancer.  WOW!  I heard that message loud and clear.  And I listened closely to his words which inspired me and gave me ideas on how to pull the talk together.

Dan Duffy, of the co-founder of The Half Fund was the fabulous keynote speaker and I was so BLESSED to hear his words!  “In 2002, Dan was diagnosed with stage-three testicular cancer.  Through massive amounts of chemo and multiple surgeries, he was declared cancer free seven months later.”

He told an entertaining story of his journey (or battle depending on the day) and how he’s been inspired to change the way people look at cancer.  He talked about how every cancer patient should build an army.  WOW!  Molly built the best army anyone with cancer could every dream of – and I know she’s still looking out for all of her earthly army that remains.

Dan also spoke about embracing your crisis, using what you know, getting “naked”, being a bear and telling your story.

His words were exactly what I need to hear to know I was in the right place this weekend.

It was a huge step out of my comfort zone to share a bit of my journey with Molly. When I felt the tears creeping in, I took a deep breath and kept moving forward.  For some reason, I was much stronger at holding back the emotion while she was here.  I was better at holding back for her.  Now that she’s gone, I find it harder to hold back when the grief hits. Perhaps it’s finally knowing it’s ok to shed those tears.  And hearing Dan’s words…”Do you turn the tragedy into triumph? Do you seek out what used to terrify you, and make it work for you to help others?”

Yes, I did just that on Saturday.  And I grew a tremendous amount as an individual.

It was a great group of young cancer survivors that listened to “How to Start Your Day the Energizing, Anti-Cancer Way.”  We discussed a little anti cancer science, different theories and approaches to food (when you’ve been diagnosed with cancer), and we prepared several tasty breakfast recipes during our time together.

I left the conference feeling a great sense of relief, a renewed sense of focus and a desire to continue to inspire others to change their diets and lifestyles – even when faced with the greatest of challenges, like cancer.

Thanks for watching over me my friend and guiding me as to where I need to be.  Miss you so much!


Heather Ferber is a Certified Holistic Health Coach, AADP who helps busy moms get fresh, focused and energized. She is a detox specialist helping women to rebuild gut health, balance hormones and thrive. She enjoys empowering moms to take back their health and feed their families better with simple, everyday advice and suggestions that can be easily integrated into today’s modern family’s hectic lives. You can find her on Fox 6 Real MKE once a month, speaking and teaching classes in the community, cooking in her kitchen for family and friends, playing her piano to relax, or out running with the family dog.



{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Sharon Fuglestad May 1, 2017 at 2:21 pm

I know you rocked your presentation as you told your story and honored our sweet Molly! She’s got your back now and was inspiring you all the way! My grief is the same, had to stay strong for her on her despicable journey but now the tears come often and freely. God, how I miss her too! ???


Heather Ferber May 30, 2017 at 4:05 pm

Thanks Sharon. It was really tough but I honored her amazing spirit and I look forward to doing it again in the future. XOXO


Mike Coogan May 2, 2017 at 2:04 pm

Dear Heather,
Things have been a bit crazy of late and I just had the opportunity to read your words, thoughts, feelings, etc. about your dear friend Molly. I was touched by how during Mass a priest was able to touch something deep within you. No doubt that you gave a wonderful presentation. Please remind me to send you the most wonderful piece I’ve ever seen on grief…both touching and healing.



Heather Ferber May 30, 2017 at 4:07 pm

Thanks Mike. I will reach out this week for that piece on grief as I’d love to read it and I know you are living in that place too right now. My summer reading is going to include Option B by Sheryl Sandberg. Probably not as spiritual but more about internal grit and gratitude. Will let you know how that goes too.


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